Sea legs and slamming doors

Friday, 16 December 2016   ::   Ships

hopd20686Twelve days at sea is rare for Logos Hope. Captain Tom Dyer (USA), who has sailed across the Atlantic three times, estimates that fewer than ten percent of his crew have made a voyage of this length.

The Atlantic crossing is proving to be a rough experience for many on board. The constant pitching and rolling of the ship has left crewmembers rocking in their beds and having to get used to the sound of drawers and cupboards sliding open and slamming shut. The ship has listed by more than 20 degrees and the captain reminded the onboard community that, “You live on a ship. Ships move. Weather changes. Things fall. Things break. Make sure you secure your cabin and work space!”

Another factor affecting comfort is that the ship’s stabilisers haven’t been working properly. While some volunteers enjoy the thrill of a bumpy ride, others find it harder but are still thankful. Danaya Mitrakul (Thailand) said, “The lobby in the centre of the ship is usually the most stable place, where people lie on the floor if they feel seasick – but on this voyage, it’s like God has allowed our bodies to adjust to the movement, so even though we are rolling so much, we feel pretty good and are still able to work.”

Logos Hope is sailing at 11 knots, covering 264 nautical miles each day. “You are always trying to balance the weight of fuel, our cargo of books, and water stores,” explained Captain Tom. “We reduced the amount of fresh water so we could take on enough fuel to last us until Trinidad, which is our next port beyond Guyana. The ship can convert salt water to fresh water while at sea, so as we use up fuel, we can take on more fresh water. We should arrive with enough to last us through our first six days in Guyana.”

Both volunteer and professional maritime crewmembers work side-by-side and round the clock on the voyage. Watch-keepers on the bridge keep an eye out for other ships, and some take shifts at the helm.

Hearing an announcement that there are dolphins alongside always raises spirits as Logos Hope’s crew rushes to an outer deck to watch the sea life. Sunsets are spectacular, as is the array of stars visible at sea.

The community knows that crossing the ocean is a privilege, but ‘land ahoy’ will also be welcome news. Not only will the ship’s volunteers bring knowledge, help and hope during their stay in Guyana – they are also counting the days until they celebrate Christmas.